||Jan 10, 2003
Jammal Hall a.k.a. Menzuo finds out just a week before his twelfth birthday that his life on Earth in more important than any other child could have ever imagined.
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At the beginning of his spring break from school, Jammal Hall finds out that his time on Earth has been more important than he could have ever imagined. Many hidden secrets about his life are revealed. Jammal’s real birth name, information about his parents, and his true identity come to light. He also comes to find that Earth is in grave danger and that it is under attack by an evil Pirate Warrior named Morbid who is in search of the energy of all good and evil.
With the help from his protector Solar and his new trainer master Renzfly, Jammal quickly realizes that he does not have to face this battle alone. He must protect planet Earth and the energy of all good and evil, while trying to live a life as a normal kid. Video games, crushes and neighborhood bullies play a big role in helping to distract Jammal while he awaits his date of destiny which is his twelfth birthday.
Jammal must prepare himself for the most important test of his life, and it is not in the classroom. Jammal must succeed or the Dark Warrior will control the energy of all good and evil. His battle against Morbid will decide the fate of Earth and possibly the entire universe.
That night, it didn’t take Jammal long to fall asleep. Everything that happened to him in the day completely wiped him out. As soon as he closed his eyes, he was transferred into a dream world. He felt as if he was floating towards a bright light. He wasn’t afraid because it gave off many calming vibrations. He knew that it was Solar waiting for him just a few feet away.
“Hello prince Menzuo. Are you ready to begin your training?”
Jammal nodded. “Yes I am.”
“Well then, follow me,” Solar said as he floated just in front of Jammal. He continued to speak. “My prince from this point forward, everyone who you will meet throughout your training and through your battles will call you by your given Yardanian name. You must become very comfortable with your given name of Menzuo because I as well, will address you as such. It may be confusing at times because it is so new but with time, you will be just fine.”
Jammal nodded as they reached the door. He looked to Solar, “So what’s behind the door?”
“What you will find, will be your tests to see if you are truly capable of becoming the protector of this planet. If you pass these tests that are presented to you tonight, you will be allowed to continue on to enhance your abilities to become a true Yardanian Warrior,” Solar responded.
“And if I fail?”
“If you fail, then the Universe will be set for extinction. There is no one else who is capable to standing in your place. It is you or nothing.”
“Well isn’t that just great. Yeah, no pressure at all,” Jammal answered in a sarcastic tone.
“I am happy that you are confident my prince.”
“I wasn’t being serious Solar,” Jammal replied. He moved closer to the door. “But I really do not want to fail.”
Solar floated in front of his face. “We will not fail. This is our destiny. This is the calling of the Sun Prince. It is you who will protect planet Earth and I will put my existence as your protector on the line just to make sure that you do succeed.”
Jammal took a deep breath then nodded. After hearing that from Solar, he was feeling a little more confident about going forward with his training. “Well, here we go,” Jammal said as he reached for the door knob.
“Wait!” Solar shouted. “Before you enter this room, I must equip you with your ability suit. The suit that you will wear is the official Yardanian battle gear. I designed it myself just for this moment.”
“You designed it Solar?” Jammal asked with a half smile. “Are you a tailor or something?”
“Not even close. I did have more time on my hands than needed, and I put some of it to use just for you. I hope that you like it.”
“I think I will.”
Solar quickly flew back into the stone. “Please prince Menzuo, step back and raise your arms. You may want to close your eyes as the room will get much brighter than what it is.”
Jammal nodded. “Okay,” he stepped away from the door and did exactly what Solar told him. “I’m ready.”
“Just relax,” Solar said quickly.
As Jammal took a deep breath, the air in the room quickly blew all around him. The stone started to change with many different colors. Jammal’s body slowly lifted from the ground. He was now floating in the center of the room with his eyes closed. He controlled his breathing and let Solar continue the process.
The room brightened as the colors bounced throughout the area. With a quick blinding flash, Jammal seemed to have disappeared from where he was floating.
“WHOA!” Jammal shouted. He felt an intense amount of energy, surge through his body. “What was that?”
He tried to open his eyes but the room was still too bright. “Be patient,” Solar shouted.
Jammal closed his eyes again as he was slowly guided back to his feet. “I will be.”
The light in the room slowly faded and was drawn back into the stone. As the room calmed, Solar spoke. “You may now open your eyes my prince. Witness the birth of Menzuo, the true Yardanian Warrior.”
Jammal slowly opened his eyes. He looked around and noticed that he was still in front of the same door. He looked at his hands and noticed that they were covered with black gloves. “Whoa!”
“Look to your left my prince,” Solar said.
As Jammal did, he noticed a reflection looking back at him. “Is that me?”
“Yes it is, and this is your warrior suit.”
Jammal’s mouth dropped. “Unbelievable! This is awesome!”
He was now wearing a shiny black warrior’s suit with a red fire stripe that outlined his body. A black mask covered his eyes as the rest of his face was not covered. Jammal’s muscles grew just enough to make him look as if he was a miniature bodybuilder, and lastly, on his chest was the letter ‘M,’ marked for his name, Menzuo.
“You are now ready,” Solar said with much confidence. “You are the master of your destiny and nothing will get in your way.”
Jammal balled his hands into tight fists. “I am Menzuo! This is my destiny!”
“Open the door and let’s get to it,” Solar said.
Prince Menzuo turned the knob of the door and a rush of cold air blew past him. As it slowed, he walked into the dark room ready and confident.
African American Point of View
An amazing first effort by Springfield’s own Keshawn Dodds, this children’s tale combines all of the good qualities we wish to see in our children (and parents) with adventure and outright fun. It takes us back to a time when childhood was enjoyed by all and reminds us of how children used to settle disputes peaceably and fairly and how we love to root for the good guy.
The book’s message is timeless but it receives its update in the parlance and setting of today’s video game world in the form of a virtual reality tournament, where the hero, Menzuo, represents the fight of good over evil. This superhero reminded me of my childhood hero, Superman (Clark Kent), as Menzuo (Jammal) first trains to learn to use his powers and then fights to keep earth and the rest of the solar system from being destroyed by Morbid, the evil Pirate Warrior.
My hat is off to Keshawn, a product of the Springfield public schools, a former high school football star, and currently an elementary school teacher. The first book, in what he plans to be a series, about the exploits of Menzuo, it reminds us about what is possible. It teaches tolerance between the races--Menzuo (Jammal’s) two best friends are White and Hispanic. It shows the importance of family values as exemplified by Jammal’s adoptive parents. It reminds us of how to settle differences without violence, the Solar Warriors vs. the Sharp Shooters. It promotes equality between the sexes, the Solar Warriors vs. the Blade Runners. And it demonstrates that good always triumphs over evil.
Dr. Bobbie Rennix - Former Elementary School Principal
This book was excellent! It captures your interest from the minute you open it and keeps readers glued to the pages from the very first chapter all the way through to the end. It is about a boy who found out that his life on Earth was more important than he thought. The main character learns that he is actually from another planet and that his duty is to protect Earth an evil pirate warrior. He eventually has a battle with the pirate warrior that will ultimately decide the fate of Earth. If you like action then this book is for you!
William Walpole - Elementary School Teacher
Very interesting storyline, with very good character development. Good 'real life' dialouge, doesn't sound made up like other kids books......great book for youngsters, though I enjoyed it myself, and will use it for my elementary school classes. Can also help with vocabulary skills with good symbolism throughout the book and with the characters names. The book was read to my class (5th grade) and all the students looked forward to hearing it every day. Good action and interesting story, I highly recommend it to both adults and children.
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